Vortex has sold a 45% stake in its former SunEdison-built solar portfolio in the UK to Malaysia’s second-largest pension fund Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (KWAP).
The deal, valued at £67.5 million, will see KWAP take a 45% equity stake in Vortex Solar Investments which holds the portfolio.
It becomes the second financier to take a share in the portfolio after EFG Hermes, Vortex’s parent company, partnered with Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) for the purchase. TNB holds a 50% stake in Vortex Solar’s shareholding, while Vortex will maintain a 5% stake for the long term.
Vortex said that the deal fell in line with its strategy of bringing in key investors from around the world.
Karim Moussa, head of private equity and asset management at EFG Hermes, said KWAP had fended off interest from some of the world’s leading investors to clinch the holding in a “highly competitive process”.
“This transaction demonstrates our ability to utilise the group’s liquid balance sheet effectively under our merchant banking strategy to support our core business in delivering on its investment targets, creating AUM growth and delivering immediate as well as long-term returns for our shareholders.
“With our successful track-record in investing and managing large renewable energy portfolios across several European markets, Vortex represents a great gateway to the asset class for global partners and specifically for Middle Eastern and Asian investors,” Moussa said.
Vortex completed the acquisition in May and, according to Moussa, embarked on an “extensive turnaround plan”. This included refinancing the portfolio’s existing debt, appointing Lightsource as the portfolio’s operator and establishing an in-house asset management team to streamline its operations.
“Today with the right partners at the ownership level, we look forward to a new era and solid performance for Vortex Solar in the years to come,” Moussa said.
Vortex and EFG Hermes first announced that it had won the hotly contested race to acquire SunEdison yieldco TerraForm Power’s 365MW portfolio at the start of this year, paying around £470 million for the collection of operational solar farms.
At the time TNB said it had paid a total cash consideration of £86 million for its 50% stake.
Meanwhile Dato’ Wan Kamaruzaman bin Wan Ahmad, chief executive at KWAP, said the deal demonstrated the pension fund’s commitment to environmental sustainability.
“This marks our first direct investment in the renewable energy sector, which strategically positions KWAP as the financial co-investor of choice for the expansion of this industry. Also, as an investor, we intend to increase our exposure in real assets, and renewable energy is one of most active sectors in the infrastructure asset class for deal flow, globally,” he said.
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